Walnut Hills and Northside have long been two of the region’s busiest transit hubs, and now it appears that they will finally get their due as part of an ongoing effort by the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) to broaden its services beyond its traditional hub-and-spoke model.
To-date those efforts have included the construction of the Glenway Crossing Transit Center, Uptown Transit District and Montgomery Road Metro*Plus Route – all of which have been found to be helping boost ridership.
Two action items before today’s meeting of SORTA’s Planning & Operations Committee call for the award of funds to two companies to design transit hubs in both neighborhoods.
The first item is a $126,000 award to Woolpert. This contract would fund the final design and construction contract services for what is being called the Walnut Hills Transit District, which would include new passenger shelters, lighting, route information, sidewalk improvements and other amenities at seven bus stops throughout the Peeble’s Corner District.
While not yet approved, the investment was hinted at when Metro announced that monthly passes and regional stored-value cards would be available for purchase at the Walnut Hills Kroger.
The second item on the agenda would provide $319,000 to Michael Schuster Associates Architects (MSA), who also designed Government Square and the Uptown Transit District, to provide the preliminary and final design and construction contract administration services for an off-street transit center in the heart of Northside’s business district at the intersection of Spring Grove, Hamilton and Blue Rock.
According to official documents, the new transit center will include new passenger shelters, pedestrian-scale lighting, next bus information, sidewalk and waiting area improvements, and other amenities. Further adding to the firm’s strength, MSA had completed a conceptual layout for the Northside Transit Center in 2012.
According to SORTA officials, the funds for both of these allocations will come from the agency’s annual capital budget funding.
For Northside it comes at a particularly good time, as the first Cincy Red Bike station outside of Uptown or Downtown is currently being installed.